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Palestinians shelve Islamic "Mickey Mouse" TV show

GAZA (Reuters) - The Palestinian government ordered on Wednesday the shelving of a children’s show on a Hamas television station in which a Mickey Mouse look-alike calls for Israel to be vanquished and Islam to “lead the world”.

A Palestinian girl wears a Hamas banner on her head as she participates in a Hamas rally at Rafah camp in the southern Gaza strip April 19, 2007. The Palestinian government ordered on Wednesday the shelving of a children's show on a Hamas television station in which a Mickey Mouse look-alike calls for Israel to be vanquished and Islam to "lead the world". REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

“Tomorrow’s Pioneers”, which attracted complaints from Israeli groups, features a host, Farfur, dressed in a full body-suit to resemble Walt Disney’s famous cartoon character.

He and a young female co-host instruct their young viewers on Hamas’s militant brand of Muslim piety.

“We will restore to this nation its glory, and we will liberate (Jerusalem mosque) Al-Aqsa, with Allah’s will, and we will liberate Iraq, with Allah’s will, and we will liberate the Muslim countries invaded by murderers,” Farfur said in one show.

Following complaints by Israeli watchdog groups that attracted foreign scrutiny, Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouthi said he had ordered broadcasts of “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” to be halted so the show’s content could be reviewed.

“I demanded that Hamas suspend the program and they have withdrawn it, because it was wrong to use a program directed at children to convey political messages,” said Barghouthi, a political independent in the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

“Any media outlet that breaks Palestinian broadcasting law will be penalized by the Information Ministry,” he told Reuters.

A Hamas official said the group’s Al-Aqsa Television station was considering a possible change to the show’s format. The next episode is scheduled for broadcast on Friday.

Hamas advocates Israel be destroyed and replaced by a pan-Islamic Arab confederation, a doctrine at odds with Palestinians who have been fighting for independence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, alongside the Jewish state.

Disney declined comment on “Tomorrow’s Pioneers”. A daughter of the U.S. entertainment firm’s founder cried foul, however.

“The world loves children and this (show) is just going against the grain of humanity,” Diane Disney Miller told the New York Daily News.

“What we’re dealing with here is pure evil and you can’t ignore that.”

Additional reporting by Mohammed Assadi in Ramallah

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